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  1. #1
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    Salsa Pony Rustler

    I got a chance to demo the Salsa Pony Rustler this past weekend. After demoing a few of Salsa's fat bikes I was really impressed with the Pony Rustler. Even with the 3" tires it felt like a trail bike. This was my first time on a plus bike so I wasn't sure what to expect. The bike handles well and i felt it was fairly nimble. At 6'2" I felt the XL was a bit to large for me but still really enjoyed the ride.

  2. #2
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    Salsa's demo will be near me two weeks. I'll be there to ride this bike.
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  3. #3
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    What tires did the demo PR have on it?
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    I think they changed the name to Donkey Toucher.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    What tires did the demo PR have on it?
    They had the WTB Bridger 27.5x3.0 on the front and rear Vik.

    Here is the front wheel off of one of them.

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  6. #6
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    Here is my interview with some friends that rode the Pony Rustler:

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by forgiven_nick View Post
    They had the WTB Bridger 27.5x3.0 on the front and rear Vik.

    Here is the front wheel off of one of them.

    Thanks

    Did it look like a true 3" of more the size of the Trailblazer?
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  8. #8
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    did you compare it to the bucksaw by any chance?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    did you compare it to the bucksaw by any chance?
    Yes. In a weird way, I like the Bucksaw's wider BB--having my feet farther apart makes the bike feel more stable.

    The suspension on the PR is more active than the BS, and it's lighter weight makes it feel more nimble.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sisu View Post
    Yes. In a weird way, I like the Bucksaw's wider BB--having my feet farther apart makes the bike feel more stable.

    The suspension on the PR is more active than the BS, and it's lighter weight makes it feel more nimble.
    when you say more active, do you mean it has some pop when rebounding off something or that one of them smooths out roots etc better than the other?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    when you say more active, do you mean it has some pop when rebounding off something or that one of them smooths out roots etc better than the other?
    Yes, the PR makes you want to pop off stuff and get rowdy. The BS feels too heavy and the suspension too inactive to ride like a hooligan.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by voghan View Post
    I got a chance to demo the Salsa Pony Rustler this past weekend. After demoing a few of Salsa's fat bikes I was really impressed with the Pony Rustler. Even with the 3" tires it felt like a trail bike. This was my first time on a plus bike so I wasn't sure what to expect. The bike handles well and i felt it was fairly nimble. At 6'2" I felt the XL was a bit to large for me but still really enjoyed the ride.
    WARNING: LOOOONG POST. TLDR Version: I really liked the Ponyrustler. The L should fit a 6' 2" person OK. I wonder if the same amount of fun can be had on a 29er with "wide" rims.


    I too was able to demo a PR over the weekend on two different trails. Hopefully you can find some value in my ramblings below. Do feel free to ask specific questions and I will do my best to answer.

    I rode the following setups at two demos in Minnesota:
    • L with the Fox 34 fork, ~60mm stem @ Carver Lake Trails
    • XL with the RS-1 with 90mm stem, then again with a 60mm stem @ Carver Lake Trails
    • L with the RS-1 and 80mm stem @ Murphy-Hanrehan Trails


    A little about me:
    • Recovering singlespeeder
    • Loves technical riding (by Minnesota standards) and doesn't shy away from tough sections in other regions
    • 6' 2" tall, ~195 pounds, 35.5" inseam, 74.5" wingspan (measured using this method)


    A little about the trails:
    Carver Lake Park has about 5.25 miles of relatively twisty singletrack with some rocks, roots and obstacles. Short climbs with a few quick steep ups. Remember, this is Minnesota! Many spots are sandy/dusty over hardpack and I predictably wash out the front tire on my "regular" 29er . MORC | Carver Lake

    The test loop at Murphy-Hanrehan is about 3-4 miles with more rocks and roots than Carver and longer climbs and more flowy descents. Much less twisty. There is also a portion of the beginner trail that is in a field and has many sandy/dusty over hardpack swooping turns that I also predictably wash out the front tire on my "regular" 29er. MORC | Murphy Hanrehan

    My first impressions of the bike:
    Each of the bikes were set up for 30% sag on the rear. I don't recall the sag for the Fox fork but the RS-1 was 20%.
    Tire pressures were 10psi front and 11psi rear.

    The first ride with the Large frame and short stem was pretty good although I did feel a bit cramped by the end of the 5 mile loop and wondered if a slightly longer stem would help. Traction through the aforementioned sandy corners was outstanding compared to my "regular" 29er. I attribute this to, obviously, the tire width but also the fact that on a Large my weight is a bit more on the front.
    I have been riding singlespeeds for the last 10+ years and still prefer to climb standing. The rear suspension felt very good in that respect and so did the fork. The fork had a little bob, but nothing to complain about. I really liked the Fox 34 fork. Overall, I felt like the bike handled pretty well and I carried more speed into corners I would usually hold back on. I also carried a lot more speed into technical sections and almost got myself into trouble more than once when the brakes struggled to slow me in time for a twist. The Guide RS are not near as good as the XT brakes I am used to.

    Next I picked up the XLarge with a 90mm stem. One of the buys said I was FOR SURE an XLarge, the other said I am probably likely in the middle of Large/XLarge. Before, and after, the lap I agree with the latter, I am a "tweener" for size. First off, the RS-1 was set to 120mm travel instead of the 130mm of the Fox and overall it felt more "firm" and I didn't really like it. I am sure a lot could be tweaked with setup, but it just didn't feel as fun. The main thing I noticed with the XLarge was that the front wheel washed out a lot more than on the Large. I really had to focus on weighting the front in corners and even still that didn't help as much as I hoped it would. It steered slower and overall felt slower except for the straight descent or two where it felt more stable. This is somewhat of an obvious conclusion. I did half a lap on this bike then went back to the tent to get a shorter stem (60mm I think). That stem certainly changed the handling but not really for the better. I still felt like the front end washed out more and overall the bike was slower.

    Fast forward to a few days later and I took a Large with RS-1 and 80mm stem for a spin. This ride felt pretty good. The front end was definitely different from the other Large I rode (fork and stem difference) but still felt pretty good. I didn't feel cramped like I did with the shorter stem but the steering felt a little "off". I surmise that a 70mm stem on a Large frame would be my sweetspot.

    Overall impressions of the bike:
    • Build quality is good. Of the three bikes I rode only one had a weird squeak from the rear shock (kind of to be expected on a demo bike that has been flogged).
    • The rear end is much stiffer than the Gen 1 Ibis Ripley I have been rolling on a bit this season.
    • The wide tires really do increase traction and still roll relatively well. They roll faster than my fat bike but slower than my "regular" 29er. Nothing shocking there.
    • While the suspension worked great for climbing, there were times I felt I had to work for it. But those feelings went away whenever I approached an obstacle or dicey traction area and the bike easily motored through.
    • The XLarge was surprisingly easier to lift the front than I thought it would be, even with the 90mm stem. Weird, I know.
    • The rear SRAM XO hub had great engagement. A refreshing surprise as usually Salsa specs their bikes with lame-o Salsa hubs (Was that out loud?).
    • At no time did I rub/bang heels on the rear triangle. The Boost rear end was of no concern.
    • The Guide RS brakes are fine, but I prefer XT.
    • RS-1 is not a friend of mine.. on this bike at least. It would likely rock on my single speed.
    • Three times I ended up rubbing the rear tire on the inside of my left calf while cornering hard with the seat dropped. The third time finally drew a little blood. Oops. I imagine this is not uncommon on other FS fatty and mid fatty rigs that have "seat stays" lower than a hard tail frame.
    • I don't care about the name, or really even the color. The cream colored model I rode was actually easy on the eyes. No big deal.



    Verdict:
    I certainly had a lot of fun on the Ponyrustler, and that's what really counts. The tires provided great traction and made trails I am used to even more fun to ride by allowing me to push even harder. I really wish there were Horsethiefs at the demo so I could compare to the Ponyrustler. At this point I am trying to decide if a Ponyrustler and a "spare" set of 29er wheels will be the ticket. A PonyThief if you will. Or if a Horsethief with a set of wide 29er rims/tires (talking Derby or Ibis wide) to get more traction, but not quite the same as the 3" is the ticket.

    It's a good time to be in the market for a bike. There are some really fun options out there!

  13. #13
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    If you are thinking of getting a Horsethief and putting wider rims on it, you might as well get a Pony Rustler and buy your wider 29er rims without having to replace a pair of wheels. They are the same frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    If you are thinking of getting a Horsethief and putting wider rims on it, you might as well get a Pony Rustler and buy your wider 29er rims without having to replace a pair of wheels. They are the same frame.
    Same frame. Yup. My thinking: If I buy a HT I can get at least some sort of buyback for the OEM wheels and put that toward ONE set of "wide" 29 rims. If I opt for the Ponyrustler I would likely have TWO sets of wheels: OEM PR wheels and after market 29 of the not-super-wide variety.
    If I decide that wider 29 rims will serve my fun seeking needs I would go for the first option. Or the second option with a buyback for the 27.5+ wheels.. or sell them on ebay. Or something. It should come as no surprise that sometimes I over-analyze things

  15. #15
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    The front triangle is the same. I thought the rear on the PR was widened for better clearance or did they do that and use the wider rear triangle for the HT?
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  16. #16
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    The whole frame is the same. They talk about it on the 2016 Horsethief page:

    Salsa Cycles

    I would definitely want both wheelsets. The main deciding factor for me would be which wheelset would I rather have be a fancy aftermarket one.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    The whole frame is the same. They talk about it on the 2016 Horsethief page:

    Salsa Cycles

    I would definitely want both wheelsets. The main deciding factor for me would be which wheelset would I rather have be a fancy aftermarket one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    I would definitely want both wheelsets. The main deciding factor for me would be which wheelset would I rather have be a fancy aftermarket one.
    Can't argue with that.

    Of the two OEM wheelsets, I think the SRAM XO hubs with Scraper rims is "nicer" spec than the Roam 40 on the upper end Horsethief. If I were to go this route I would lean towards a Ponythief: Ponyrustler with an aftermarket 29er wheelset.
    However, if colors are of concern to anyone the black Horsethief looks pretty good.

    Another note; Salsa reps at the demo said Ponyrustlers will be arriving in December and pre-orders indicate they are more in demand than the Horsethief. Availability could certainly play a factor.

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    I test rode a pony rustler on the same Minnesota demo, and thought I should chime in that my 2015 horsethief with ibis 941 wheels is in fact more fun! In my opinion (and my buddy who was at the demo with my) at least...

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    Just wish the damn things would be out sooner. I got rid of my bike as part of a move a month or two back and pretty sold on a B+ compatible bike for the next go around. January seems impossibly far away with a quiver of 0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lic-Niner View Post
    I test rode a pony rustler on the same Minnesota demo, and thought I should chime in that my 2015 horsethief with ibis 941 wheels is in fact more fun! In my opinion (and my buddy who was at the demo with my) at least...
    Our conversation in the Lebanon Hills parking lot is what has me thinking the wide 29er might be the ticket.
    Care to elaborate on WHY the Horsethief with 941s is more fun than the Ponyrustler with 27.5+?

    Thanks!

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    I'm among the crowd that doesn't like fat bikes unless I'm riding snow, so keep that in mind with my opinions.

    Despite the fact that the frames are nearly the same between the pony rustler and my horsethief, the feel is pretty different with the 27.5+ wheels. The PR felt much more like a fat bike than I had expected. The weight and width of the wheels can really be felt by a 150 pound guy like myself, which takes away from the nimble feeling my bike has. Also some of the bouncy feeling fat bikes have over chattery bits of trail makes it through the suspension.

    Cornering grip on loose stuff is better on the PR than my setup, but not by much, and I would say rolling resistance is a wash, but the weight of the wheels and tires shows itself again on the climbs.

    Bottom line is that I can't think of anything I would prefer to ride than my HT on 941s. It's a fantastic setup. The pony rustler takes the big tire thing a little too far for my personal taste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lic-Niner View Post
    I'm among the crowd that doesn't like fat bikes unless I'm riding snow, so keep that in mind with my opinions.

    Despite the fact that the frames are nearly the same between the pony rustler and my horsethief, the feel is pretty different with the 27.5+ wheels. The PR felt much more like a fat bike than I had expected. The weight and width of the wheels can really be felt by a 150 pound guy like myself, which takes away from the nimble feeling my bike has. Also some of the bouncy feeling fat bikes have over chattery bits of trail makes it through the suspension.

    Cornering grip on loose stuff is better on the PR than my setup, but not by much, and I would say rolling resistance is a wash, but the weight of the wheels and tires shows itself again on the climbs.

    Bottom line is that I can't think of anything I would prefer to ride than my HT on 941s. It's a fantastic setup. The pony rustler takes the big tire thing a little too far for my personal taste.
    Thanks for the rundown!
    Which tires are you running on the 941s and how is the clearance on the HT frame?

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    I have 2.35 schwalbe nobby nics snakeskin pace star on there right now. They clear just fine even with my fenders on. Very occasional rub to the fender is all. I didn't like these tires much on my last wheels because they would snap out from under me quickly rather than give a predictable slide, but on the 941s I can lower the pressure enough to make them more controllable at the limit. If you put them on a 2016 I'm sure the clearance would be massive.

    I've got a pair of Maxxis ikon 2.35 as well but I haven't tried them on the 941s yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by qheuie View Post
    Can't argue with that.


    Another note; Salsa reps at the demo said Ponyrustlers will be arriving in December and pre-orders indicate they are more in demand than the Horsethief. Availability could certainly play a factor.
    I have also heard that the 'rustler is sold out at the wholesale level. Dunno if that is true or??
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    I rode at the Elm Creek demo day. Fun to see so many Minnesotans on this post. The Pony Rustler convinced my that my next trail bike will probably be a plus sized bike. I want to try the sub 3" plus bikes before I go all in though. It would have been fun to ride a large and see what I could really do with that bike. I just think it will cruise over all the tough stuff on the trail.

  27. #27
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    I kinda wish they made an aluminum Spearfish that fit 3.0 tires. I always thought the alloy Spearfish was a great value as an XC or Marathon bike.
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  28. #28
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    These look like so much fun, I'd love to give one a try, see if it really could be used as an everyday kind of trail bike...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    These look like so much fun, I'd love to give one a try, see if it really could be used as an everyday kind of trail bike...
    Of course it can. It's just a MTB with slightly wider tires. It's nothing radically new. People have been using 29+ bikes for 3yrs now as trail bikes this is less of a leap than that.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lic-Niner View Post
    Despite the fact that the frames are nearly the same between the pony rustler and my horsethief, the feel is pretty different with the 27.5+ wheels. The PR felt much more like a fat bike than I had expected. The weight and width of the wheels can really be felt by a 150 pound guy like myself, which takes away from the nimble feeling my bike has. Also some of the bouncy feeling fat bikes have over chattery bits of trail makes it through the suspension.

    Cornering grip on loose stuff is better on the PR than my setup, but not by much, and I would say rolling resistance is a wash, but the weight of the wheels and tires shows itself again on the climbs.

    Bottom line is that I can't think of anything I would prefer to ride than my HT on 941s. It's a fantastic setup. The pony rustler takes the big tire thing a little too far for my personal taste.
    This.

    I rode the PR at the Carver demo and came away very disappointed. Was seriously considering buying a HT and a second set of 27.5+ wheels. But, I've come close to abandoning that idea after the demo. It really was too bad they didn't have the new HTs for comparison's sake.

    The frame construction/geo and suspension on the PR seemed really good. However, the rotating mass and rolling resistance of the Scraper rims and Bridger tires spoiled the show. Felt like I was dragging 85% of a fat bike around the trail. This is not the balance I'm looking for, unfortunately. On group rides with others on regular tires, I'd either be falling way behind or working twice as hard to keep up. That's not fun.

    I'll need some time on lightweight plus tires and wheels to see if that would strike a better balance between traction/confidence/fun and extra work on the pedals.

    Quick googling shows a set of Derby/Fat-B-Nimble would be at least 750 grams lighter, per wheel, than what was on the demo PR. Those Bridger tires are pigs. Possibly needed in a burly enduro setting, but not at all good for general XC/Trail riding.

    To me, seems like a 29er derby or Ibis with a 2.35 mounted up would be a better overall solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReXTless View Post
    To me, seems like a 29er derby or Ibis with a 2.35 mounted up would be a better overall solution.
    If you already have a capable 29er, sure. Alternatively you could just get a Scott with 2.8's once they drop, sounds like that will be a far more balanced choice than the 3.0's.

    I got to play around with a PR a little bit at the LBS yesterday, not a proper demo but they had one that just finished the Colorado trail race. I've been talking to more folks who have spent more tangible time on the bike and and the overall impression still seems to be favorable with many expressing that they'd like to own a plus bike, but the solid consensus is that it is a complement to a proper 29er and by no means an outright replacement.

    The cool thing about getting a boost spacing bike like the PR is that you have the option to run both setups in a single bike if you want. Personally, I'd still like to have the flexibility to make that choice even if I rode it as a 29er 90% of the time.

    Alas the wait was too long for me personally as the summer rapidly winds down and I was currently bike-less. Ended up getting a used 2015 Horsetheif carbon 1 and will probably go the Ibis route if I want more traction.

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    I just hope that manufactures recognize that and build bikes that can take a 3.8 tire on smaller 35-45mm rims while still using normal BB and Boost spacing.

    I love the idea of Plus sizing, but only because I love the idea of a semi-fat bike that utilizes normal hubs and BB spacing. I don't need a full fat bike with 190 hubs and a 100mm BB, but during the winter or in a sandy conditions it'd be sweet to having something that "kinda" works in those environments.

    It seems like many of the new Plus bikes are really limited to a 3.0 or comparable width tire, but frankly, my non-plus 27.5" full suspension can fit a "real" 2.8 tire in the back, so I don't see too much interest in upgrading for only a few extra millimeters of tire.

    I like options though, even if I'm not planning on utilizing those options yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgarson View Post
    If you already have a capable 29er, sure. Alternatively you could just get a Scott with 2.8's once they drop, sounds like that will be a far more balanced choice than the 3.0's.

    I got to play around with a PR a little bit at the LBS yesterday, not a proper demo but they had one that just finished the Colorado trail race. I've been talking to more folks who have spent more tangible time on the bike and and the overall impression still seems to be favorable with many expressing that they'd like to own a plus bike, but the solid consensus is that it is a complement to a proper 29er and by no means an outright replacement.

    The cool thing about getting a boost spacing bike like the PR is that you have the option to run both setups in a single bike if you want. Personally, I'd still like to have the flexibility to make that choice even if I rode it as a 29er 90% of the time.

    Alas the wait was too long for me personally as the summer rapidly winds down and I was currently bike-less. Ended up getting a used 2015 Horsetheif carbon 1 and will probably go the Ibis route if I want more traction.
    My point was, if you're only building one high-end wheelset, I'd personally get a lot more enjoyment putting those dollars toward a wide 29er set over a set of blingy 27.5+. YMMV.

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    Got to ride it yesterday, 2k' up then 2k' back down (5 mi each way). I'm 6'3" and rode an XL and felt it was a bit long with the stock stem (looked to be 100mm). It didn't really bother me on the way up through all the tight switchbacks but it did feel really long on the way down. I felt I was overcompensating and ended up with my weight too far forward somehow. It was however plenty of fun. I'd put it at around 28lbs and had no trouble getting airborne. Its much more maneuverable than the bucksaw. When I rode the BS it felt bumbly. The pony felt a lot more responsive and connected to the ground. The biggest thing I learned is I need a set of 27+ tires for my Mukluk next summer.

    However, it wasn't as fast or precise as my 5" 29er trail bike. I guess that's the compromise of + tires. I also noticed a few more pedal strikes than I was used to. Might have just been me not used to the gearing. I do think it would be an awesome bike for my wife or an intermediate rider to have confidence in the turns and help with picking up speed. I can't deny the boost in traction. I think it would be ideal for riding above the treeline when the trail runs through a scree field.

  35. #35
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    I was able to test ride a Pony Rustler tonight at a Salsa Demo event. I came away impressed.

    I ride a rigid 29+ and a full suspension 650b trail bike. I'm used to the plus sized wheels and feel that whatever I lose in extra weight I make up for in float and ability to roll over things.

    The PR did everything well. It's more plush than the VPP suspension that I normally ride (this may be shock set up more than anything). On climbs the bike felt nice - I was able to climb in the saddle or out comfortably up some fairly steep hills. The bike cornered well and traction was great (our trails are sandy). I wasn't sure about the feel of the suspension - it's different from my bike, not bad, just different. I would take some longer rides to decide how I felt about it.

    After the test ride I took my full suspension on the same loop. I like my current bike. After riding the same loop on my bike I came away more impressed with the Pony Rustler. My bike felt more stiff and had a lot less traction. Rocky sections were a bit easier on the PR. I'm not sure which bike I preferred.

    I'd like to get the Pony Rustler out on a longer all-day demo and see how it would feel on a 3-4 hour ride. But my initial impression is really positive.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by qheuie View Post
    ...The rear end is much stiffer than the Gen 1 Ibis Ripley I have been rolling on a bit this season.
    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux View Post
    ...The PR did everything well. It's more plush than the VPP suspension that I normally ride (this may be shock set up more than anything)....My bike felt more stiff and had a lot less traction.

    Seems like differing feedback (unless qheuie meant rear triangle stiffness, not suspension stiffness). I'd be interested in some more thoughts on the feel of the PR's split pivot rear suspension.
    After a year of riding on a 2015 Trek Fuel EX 9 (with the Reactiv ABP suspension), I've become accustomed to - and quite fond of - its exceptional small bump compliance... As a result, I've been hoping that the PR's split pivot has similar small bump compliance characteristics and overall feel. (ABP being the red-headed step-child of split pivot, it may really just come down to the "Reactiv" thing, as well as damper tuning.)
    Last edited by DVC; 09-02-2015 at 06:44 PM.

  37. #37
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    Demo'd a PR this past weekend.

    Though I was going to love it. Walked away knowing it wasn't the bike for me.

    It felt cumbersome and the wheel/tire heft was incredibly noticeable.

    Many will find it to be really, really fun. And that's cool. Options are good.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC View Post
    I'd be interested in some more thoughts on the feel of the PR's split pivot rear suspension.

    After a year of riding on a 2015 Trek Fuel EX 9 (with the Reactiv ABP suspension), I've become accustomed to - and quite fond of - its exceptional small bump compliance... As a result, I've been hoping that the PR's split pivot has similar small bump compliance characteristics and overall feel. (ABP being the red-headed step-child of split pivot, it may really just come down to the "Reactiv" thing, as well as damper tuning.)
    I thought the Pony Rustler felt a lot more like riding a cushy sofa than I get from my Santa Cruz. The small bump compliance was definitely there, yet it climbed well. The stiffness that I was referring to is more related suspension. My bike (Santa Cruz 5010) gives more the feel of a hardtail with suspension that works compared to the Pony Rustler where the suspension seems to mute the trail more. After riding the PR, I notice how much I feel the trail on my bike. I need more time on it to decide if that is good, bad, or different.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  39. #39
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    I've always been a slow descender. I've always worked at getting faster, but on a fairly smooth trail where someone that's fast would be going 30mph, I'll be going about 25. I'm faster than some people, but if you think that you are fast you are faster than me. I've kind of made my peace with this. So I look at the full suspension 27.5+ bikes with a different perspective than a lot of people.

    I have a rigid Mukluk with 27.5" x 3.25" Vee Trax Fatties on it. I also have a Blur TRc with 27.5" x 2.35" tires on it. I like to ride trails that are steep and rocky, I just don't do them as fast as most other people that ride trails like that. I feel that I can do steep trails almost as well on the Mukluk because of the better traction even with the rigid fork. When I ride the Blur I really appreciate the suspension but miss the big tires. I did a demo ride on a Pony Rustler weekend before last and felt that it was the perfect fusion of those two things, big tires and suspension. On a trail where someone fast would be on a 150-160mm travel bike and really cruising, I think I would be perfectly happy going much slower on a Pony Rustler.

    I do think that it would be an excellent bike for rough trail bikepacking. You're out in the middle of nowhere, so you aren't trying to go as fast as you can, but even if it is difficult you are still trying to ride things, because that's why you brought a bike. I think that is where it would really come into its own, you aren't going to be going faster than the tires can handle, and any trail numbness that deducts from the fun is just an extra margin of safety.

    I would have ordered a frame if I didn't already have something else lined up.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC View Post
    Seems like differing feedback (unless qheuie meant rear triangle stiffness, not suspension stiffness). I'd be interested in some more thoughts on the feel of the PR's split pivot rear suspension.
    After a year of riding on a 2015 Trek Fuel EX 9 (with the Reactiv ABP suspension), I've become accustomed to - and quite fond of - its exceptional small bump compliance... As a result, I've been hoping that the PR's split pivot has similar small bump compliance characteristics and overall feel. (ABP being the red-headed step-child of split pivot, it may really just come down to the "Reactiv" thing, as well as damper tuning.)
    I was indeed referring to the stiffness of the frame and rear triangle not the suspension feel. The split pivot felt compliant but did not bob during standing climbs. I actually think the tires cause the feeling of losing connectivity to the trail. IIRC the front had 11 psi and the rear 12 psi. That's pretty soft and will mute a lot of little bumps on it's own. Like I said before, though, the traction was amazing. I agree with Welnic, the PR would be a great bike for comfortably getting anywhere and having a good time doing it. It's not really a singletrack trail slayer.. because it is not intended for that purpose. I ordered a Pivot Mach 429Trail in 29" mode. If I ever want to go 27.5+ that bike will support it just fine. I could have gone the same way with the Horsethief, too. Great options out there.

    I like the split pivot (and dw link) designs, but honestly have not ridden a lot of other FS designs (vpp, abp, etc) so I can't offer a fair comparison. All I know is that the Weagle stuff feels good to a recovering singlespeeder in the "flat" lands of MN.

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    Arrival

    Got my Pony Rustler GX1 today. Size small, straight out of the box, with Eggbeater 3 pedals weighs in at 29.4lb.
    Salsa Pony Rustler-salsaponyrustler.jpg

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    Nice. That GX 1x build is the only model that has a decent color scheme. It looks sharp. Post a ride report after you get it out on the trail a few times.
    Last edited by phride; 02-07-2016 at 09:08 AM.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by snydaMtb View Post
    Got my Pony Rustler GX1 today. Size small, straight out of the box, with Eggbeater 3 pedals weighs in at 29.4lb.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I just ordered a GX1 yesterday. However, as I like really low gearing, I'm looking to run a smaller ring than the 30T it comes with. Salsa's build spec says it uses a GX crank, but not which GX crank. There's the GX-1000, which is a one-piece crank/spider which will not accept Direct Mount rings. The CX-1400 is a two-piece, meaning the spider comes off to accept Direct Mount rings. So here's the question: Can you tell which one the GX1 shipped with? If it's not marked, can you tell if the spider and crank are one peice or do they look like they could come apart?

    Thanks.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    I just ordered a GX1 yesterday. However, as I like really low gearing, I'm looking to run a smaller ring than the 30T it comes with. Salsa's build spec says it uses a GX crank, but not which GX crank. There's the GX-1000, which is a one-piece crank/spider which will not accept Direct Mount rings. The CX-1400 is a two-piece, meaning the spider comes off to accept Direct Mount rings. So here's the question: Can you tell which one the GX1 shipped with? If it's not marked, can you tell if the spider and crank are one peice or do they look like they could come apart?

    Thanks.
    It looks like the 1400 as it is two pieces. Here are some pics.Salsa Pony Rustler-img_2056.jpgSalsa Pony Rustler-img_2057.jpg

  45. #45
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    snydaMtb - Thanks! Extra thanks for the pics!.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

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    I bought a large PR GX1 last Saturday on accident. The FedEx guy literally just dropped them off Friday evening. My LBS only got 2 of them. A med and a lrg. I stopped by planning to buy a Trek Stache 29+ hardtail. While BSing with one of the mechanics I noticed something in the stand half assembled that I hadn't seen before. It was the med PR. and it was already spoken for. The large was still in the box. I bribed them with beer and got them to assemble the large. Took it for a test ride and fell in love with it. Slapped some RaceFace Atlas pedals on it and ordered a stealth reverb dropper for it.

    It looks identical to the bike posted above so I'll spare you the pictures. We still have a ton of snow here in Montana so I haven't been able to get it on dirt yet. I've put about 60 miles on it around town running stuff over, dropping loading docks, and rolling down stairs. I tried it on some nearby trails and it was okay in the snow, but not nearly as good as my Ice Cream Truck.
    The WTB wheels/tires are both tubeless ready so I yanked the tubes and dumped in some Stans. Never had a tubeless setup before, not really sure I see an advantage yet.

    I'm not nearly as much of a picky bike snob as a lot of people so I'm probably easier to please than some but this thing just flat out makes me giggle every time I ride it. I can't wait to get the dropper on it and hit some dirt once the snow melts.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatkidonabike View Post
    ...this thing just flat out makes me giggle every time I ride it.
    Before I decided to buy one, I read just about everything there is to read in the web about the Pony Rustler and the Stumpy 6Fattie. The most repeated phrase was "smile inducing" or variations of it.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    Before I decided to buy one, I read just about everything there is to read in the web about the Pony Rustler and the Stumpy 6Fattie. The most repeated phrase was "smile inducing" or variations of it.
    In all fairness, this is my first full suspension bike, and my first really nice mtb. Up to this point I've been mostly a roadie except for a $500 Giant that I usually drag along camping.
    I was originally planning to buy a 29+ hardtail or a Bucksaw. But, I like shiny new bells & whistles and was easily persuaded by reading so many good reviews.
    I'm sure on the trails it doesn't handle as razor sharp as a skinnier tire bike, but I'm a 37 year old fat kid just starting to ride mountain bikes.
    Being honest about my skill level and amount of aggressiveness this bike is way more capable than I am.
    I'm in this for the fun and exercise, not to be the next to be the next fast guy.
    Everybody talking about the weight of the WTB wheels/tires kinda has me wanting to put together a skinny tire wheelset too.

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    I think getting a skinnier set of tires on some nice, light wheels would be a great match to the Scrapers with plus tires. That's the big advantage of the Pony Rustler over the 6Ftatie. It already has the wide rims, so there's no need to upgrade the plus wheelset. You can go straight to building-up a 29er wheelset.

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    Took advantage of some unseasonably nice weather and got my PR out today on a good ride. Mix of fire roads, rock gardens and flowing single track. I could make some statements on how it isn't the fastest climber or how it mutes trail feel, but honestly, I was just having so much fun on the thing I really didn't pay attention to those. It's a blast to ride! I found myself wanting to take fast corners faster and look for challenging lines. The only thing I which was different was that it came with a dropper post, but that is easy enough to fix.
    Oh, and when I got home I finally got around to pulling the tubes out and replacing with some Stan's. Those stock tubes are right at 1lb each. Now tubeless, it weighs in at 27.9lb with pedals.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by snydaMtb View Post
    Took advantage of some unseasonably nice weather and got my PR out today on a good ride. Mix of fire roads, rock gardens and flowing single track. I could make some statements on how it isn't the fastest climber or how it mutes trail feel, but honestly, I was just having so much fun on the thing I really didn't pay attention to those. It's a blast to ride! I found myself wanting to take fast corners faster and look for challenging lines. The only thing I which was different was that it came with a dropper post, but that is easy enough to fix.
    Oh, and when I got home I finally got around to pulling the tubes out and replacing with some Stan's. Those stock tubes are right at 1lb each. Now tubeless, it weighs in at 27.9lb with pedals.
    Exactly. I'm having so much fun on my PR that I don't even notice or care about any of the stuff these other guys are complaining about. I pulled my tubes out and ordered a Stealth Reverb for mine. Can't really think of much else I wanna change at this point.
    Trek Madone 4.5
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    So, the Pony Rustler can run both the OEM 27.5+ AND can swap a set of 29s in there with no real differences? Obviously, the BB height will jump a little but no ill effects when it comes to suspension action or tire clearances? The PR is top of my list as it seems perfect for the muddy, root and rock infested Mid Atlantic riding around here. The ability to swap in a set of 29s for times when I ride out West would be amazing.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmhills View Post
    The PR is top of my list as it seems perfect for the muddy, root and rock infested Mid Atlantic riding around here.
    Have you tried plus tires in these conditions? My experience with low pressure plus rubber vs. "skinny" 2.4" tires in coastal BC wet/rooty/rocky/muddy conditions has steered me away from wider rubber in winter. They work great when it's dry here.
    Safe riding,

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  54. #54
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    So the Pony Rustler GX1 (middle of the line) I ordered a couple of weeks ago could not be had. All gone until next season's bikes come in. There was one (1) X01 model (top of the line) left in the United States, and is was offered to me at a significant discount, IF they could snag it. The dropper post it comes with offsets a lot of my added cost, and the other fancier bits are nice, though not so important. I said go for it. They snagged it, now I wait. I'm expecting this bike will not even require pedaling.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    They snagged it, now I wait. I'm expecting this bike will not even require pedaling.
    Naaa, you will need to pedal more, but it should be a hell of a lot of fun!

    Congrats on your new bike. It sounds like you scored!

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by yogiprophet View Post
    Naaa, you will need to pedal more, but it should be a hell of a lot of fun!

    Congrats on your new bike. It sounds like you scored!
    A fella can dream, right? My riding style is slow, I like to crawl over chunk and roots. I run Ardent 2.4s tubeless on my RIP9, so for cush and traction, plus seemed the way to go for more. I'm an old fart that wants a land yacht for soft cruising. Oddly tho, a fatbike doesn't appeal to me. I'll post when I've gotten a few rides in.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  57. #57
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    This sounds like the perfect bike for you. I briefly looked at it but I really like speed and this bike is about getting over everything in its path more than it is super fast. Not that it has to be slow at all....

    Yea, fat bikes are for float not cush. They are far from land yachts.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Have you tried plus tires in these conditions? My experience with low pressure plus rubber vs. "skinny" 2.4" tires in coastal BC wet/rooty/rocky/muddy conditions has steered me away from wider rubber in winter. They work great when it's dry here.
    Riding in the winter is not really an issue as a normal winter remains relatively dry and cold. What intrigues me about the PR is that I can go out to a trail with the wide tires on and if the conditions do not merit them, swap a set of skinny 29s on it. Makes sense, right?

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmhills View Post
    Riding in the winter is not really an issue as a normal winter remains relatively dry and cold. What intrigues me about the PR is that I can go out to a trail with the wide tires on and if the conditions do not merit them, swap a set of skinny 29s on it. Makes sense, right?
    The PR is definitely versatile. The cost for 2 wheel sets is not inconsiderable, but if you use them both a significant amount I can see it being worth it.
    Safe riding,

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  60. #60
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    Just to note that if you can't get a Pony Rustler, or you don't like the color, or the name, you can buy a Horsethief instead. And then you can have your really nice wheelset be the 27.5+ one.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    Just to note that if you can't get a Pony Rustler, or you don't like the color, or the name, you can buy a Horsethief instead. And then you can have your really nice wheelset be the 27.5+ one.
    So the HT has the wider rear triangle of the PR and can take real 27+ tires?
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  62. #62
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    The 2016 HT and PR are exactly the same frame. There are spots on the Salsa site where they refer to the Horsethief/Pony Rustler frame.

  63. #63
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    Got it. Thanks for the clarification.
    Safe riding,

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    I believe the Horse Thiefs might have sold out just as fast as the Pony Rustlers did.
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    I just got my Horsethief in and built up! Wanted a Pony Rustler for the 27.5+ tires but they were sold out, plus I wasn't crazy about the color. The Salsa rep told me that the Horsethief was the exact bike only with 29er wheels. That was all it took to sell me on that. I waited since Oct to have Hadley hubs built up for the scrapers and waited even longer for the bike to come in. I took the 29ers off that come with the Nobby Nics and the cassette that came with it. If anyone is looking to have a spare set of skinny rims, tires and cassette I can do a package deal since I will not be using them. We didn't even put air in the tires yet, straight off the bike. I can post pics later if anyone is interested and would do a buy it now on Ebay. Going for the first ride on the Pony-Thief in a little while!!!

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by ciscopd View Post
    Going for the first ride on the Pony-Thief in a little while!!!
    Has a nice ring to it.

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    Horsethief with 27.5+ wheels

    I demo'd the Pony Rustler at Outerbike in Oct and absolutely loved it, well, everything but the color. The Salsa rep told me that the Horsethief is the same bike only the wheels are different, and that changed everything. I ordered the Horsethief and had a 27.5+ wheelset built with the Scraper rims with Hadley hubs and upgraded a few other parts. It went for it's first ride yesterday and felt great. Still need to make some small suspension adjustments but overall it is feels very plush on the dh sections of trails and pedals well over rocks and roots. I am on the East Coast and we have more of that than smooth trails. It climbs well with the suspension locked out on long climbs and really feels like a dh bike on the longer flowy trails on descend mode. Felt very stable and rolled fast. It does feel more like a fat bike with the bigger tires and I can see where the 29ers or a 27 would be more efficient, but I got this to have fun with and keep up with my xc friends a little better than on my 26". I will be selling the wheels that came off of it as a complete set, rims, tires/tubes, rear cassette, and rotors at a discount if anyone is interested for their Pony. They were never installed or aired up. Also took off the carbon bar and put on an aluminum, that will be for sale too. Ping me if interested and I'll post em on ebay. My build has it at 31.08 lbs
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Salsa Pony Rustler-image1.jpg  

    Salsa Pony Rustler-image2.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by ciscopd View Post
    I demo'd the Pony Rustler at Outerbike in Oct and absolutely loved it, well, everything but the color. The Salsa rep told me that the Horsethief is the same bike only the wheels are different, and that changed everything. I ordered the Horsethief and had a 27.5+ wheelset built with the Scraper rims with Hadley hubs and upgraded a few other parts. It went for it's first ride yesterday and felt great. Still need to make some small suspension adjustments but overall it is feels very plush on the dh sections of trails and pedals well over rocks and roots. I am on the East Coast and we have more of that than smooth trails. It climbs well with the suspension locked out on long climbs and really feels like a dh bike on the longer flowy trails on descend mode. Felt very stable and rolled fast. It does feel more like a fat bike with the bigger tires and I can see where the 29ers or a 27 would be more efficient, but I got this to have fun with and keep up with my xc friends a little better than on my 26". I will be selling the wheels that came off of it as a complete set, rims, tires/tubes, rear cassette, and rotors at a discount if anyone is interested for their Pony. They were never installed or aired up. Also took off the carbon bar and put on an aluminum, that will be for sale too. Ping me if interested and I'll post em on ebay. My build has it at 31.08 lbs
    That thing looks awesome! I sent a PM about your wheels.
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    Just got mine last week. Love it! Made climbing sections I never cleared on my 29er and cornering confidence is amazing. Also my mid 40's body feels much less beat up after a ride with all the Cush! But, definitely feel the heft of the wheels/tires. Anyone tried one of the lighter maxis or schwable tires on it? Can drop 400 grams per tire....

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie10 View Post
    Just got mine last week. Love it! Made climbing sections I never cleared on my 29er and cornering confidence is amazing. Also my mid 40's body feels much less beat up after a ride with all the Cush! But, definitely feel the heft of the wheels/tires. Anyone tried one of the lighter maxis or schwable tires on it? Can drop 400 grams per tire....
    I bet the heft you feel in those tires is their rolling resistance and not so much the weight. When I was playing around with plus tires on my non plus bike I thought those tires were pigs. On my two plus bikes I have vee tires and chupacabras and they roll so much better.
    My brain went from "you probably shouldn't say that" to WTF!

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    The vee tires look to also be quite a bit lighter, but you think is the rolling resistance? Either way, once the wtb tires wear out, I'll check out lighter/less resistance tires. Thanks!

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    I just bought a Pony Rustler from my LBS and had them take the tubes out to go tubeless. Problem is, the tires won't hold pressure. Has anyone else had this problem or is anyone familiar with it?

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    I picked up a pony rustler GX with the bridger/scraper combo - first thing I did was remove the tubes and put in some stans. They did lose pressure the first night as the sealant likely pooled at the bottom of the tire. After one ride, things have been great


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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bergler View Post
    I just bought a Pony Rustler from my LBS and had them take the tubes out to go tubeless. Problem is, the tires won't hold pressure. Has anyone else had this problem or is anyone familiar with it?
    Check the rim tape. It's often the problem when there is nothing obviously wrong with the tire itself or tire to rim seal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Check the rim tape. It's often the problem when there is nothing obviously wrong with the tire itself or tire to rim seal.
    Thanks Vik, that's good to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bergler View Post
    I just bought a Pony Rustler from my LBS and had them take the tubes out to go tubeless. Problem is, the tires won't hold pressure. Has anyone else had this problem or is anyone familiar with it?
    On a new bike, sometimes the tires need to conform to the rim better after being shipped deflated on the rim. After a ride or two, the bead will flatten out against the rim and hold air much better than if you try to go tubeless when the bike is first taken out of the box.

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    Thanks for all the advice on getting my tubeless tires to hold pressure. I think I finally have it figured out and can finally go ride. Yes!

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    i had a factory warranty issue so i just got a frame and built it up. (it was a horse thief issue not pony rustler.) i bought some specialized wheels off of another ride that had come into the shop and they had tubes, but were taped for tubeless. i pulled the tubes out, put the stan's in, but was having trouble getting the rubber to seal so i pumped em up to, i think, about 30 psi. if i remember there was a max inflate pressure on the tire, i went to that. spun the wheel a few time and let it set overnight. haven't had a problem since.

    i have no regrets with this bike, enjoy the ride.

  79. #79
    Digger
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    My new pony:


    (That link worked embedded yesterday... in case it doesn't: https://i.imgur.com/Doswlp9.jpg )

    Grinning from ear to ear over here!

  80. #80
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    anyone try the maxxis rekon 2.8 on the pony rustler? way lighter than the stock tires and looks to have a reasonably aggressive tread. maxxis makes good stuff as well. I'd be worried about the bottom bracket height though. already a bit a of a pedal scraper as it is and I think the 2.8 size is smaller diameter? any experiences?

  81. #81
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    For those who have PR size small, what's your height?

  82. #82
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    5'4"

  83. #83
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    5'5"

  84. #84
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    I also have Qs for those riding size small PRs. In addition to your height, can you comment on how the bike feels to you? My wife (5'6") is looking at this bike, but I have some concerns about the size small being too large. The Salsa site has a recommended height of 5'5," so it would seem perfect. However, the REI website shows 5'5" to 5"9" for size small, and even more concerning to me are some of the geometry specs. I have a list/spreadsheet of 8 different bikes, and the size small PR is abnormally large when it comes to Stack and Standover. So large, in fact, that the size small often exceeds the size medium of the other bikes when it comes to these two specs. The standover of 752.6mm is particularly concerning; it's literally larger than every single MEDIUM version of the 7 other bikes I'm comparing it to! We are visiting a local shop soon to see/stand over one in person, so that should help, but I'm curious if anyone can help me out with respect to these concerns. Thanks!

    BTW, she's between this bike and the Cannondale Bad Habit 1 right now. The other bikes I'm comparing it to are the Bad Habit, her old bike (2015 Cannondale Trigger 3), my current bike (Ghost SL AMR X8 LC), Ghost Kato FS 5, Ghost DRE AMR X7, Santa Cruz Hightower and SC Tallboy (both set up for 27.5+). Some of these bikes are similar, and others I just know, which helps give me a sense while comparing geometry.

  85. #85
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    I am a female, 5'5 exactly. I own a small and it has standover clearance of about an inch for me. When I demo'd these at Outer Bike I actually took out both a small and medium to get it out of my mind that I didn't take a med, since I like riding bikes with longer stems, I wanted to make sure I was buying the correct size without making multiple component modifications. The medium is definitely a larger bike. I had no standover height and the frame was too long. It only took pedaling it down one trail to figure that out. It was just too large. My husband is 5'9 and my bike feels and looks like a kids bike when he's on it, its a deceiving look. It looks a lot larger than how it feels. He also took out a large to get a comparison and he is definitely a medium.
    I am running a Thomson 0x100 stem with riser bars. It came with a smaller stem but, again, I like a longer stem. I rode a Knolly Endorphin for a year before buying this bike and the Knolly was great, but it didn't give me the confidence that the Pony does. It's been to Trestle and Vail on their DH courses, it jumps and is solid in the air, I couldn't get over how well it felt at trestle, really...you can't stop smiling! The highest I personally would do is a 3' to flat landing. The fork has come close to bottoming. If you can land gracefully on the back wheel it can probably do higher. It rolls over anything and handle rollers and technical very well. I'm an aggressive rider and the bike performs. This is not my only bike, but its the one I chose when trail riding. It will be going out West again this year. I hope this helps, and her standing over one will be good. I can't say enough positive things about this bike. Normally I get bored with bikes and move on to the next new one, but I am only looking to make this one better!

  86. #86
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    I finally pulled a trigger and bought the Pony Rustler. I am only 5'3.5", with a longer torso. I barely clear the frame when standing over. But that doesn't bother me, how often do you literally standover? I ride Stumpjumper HT (15.5) and when I compared this to PR, the biggest difference is the wheelbase. Other key measurements were just a few mm her and there. I haven't taken my Pony to a trail yet. Planning to make some adjustments but I don't expect anything major. Looking forward to enjoying this ride!

  87. #87
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    New question here. Max Tire Size?

    From researching on Line, MikeC says that the Fox 27.5+ fork will fit 27.5x4" tires. What's the max the PR will fit out back? Anyone try bigger than 3"? Just wondering if this would be a limited use fatbike replacement, allowing for 27.5+ in summer and 26 (or 27.5)x3.8" in winter (I ride groomed trails, so floatation isn't as critical)... Thoughts?

    Pic of MikeC's Fattalac for REF:


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